Chris Newmarker

November 19, 2013

2 Min Read
Medtronic Says Pacemakers Slow Heart Rhythm Disorder

Medtronic is touting a potential advance in the cardiovascular space: a recent study that shows some of the smarter algorithms it is using in its pacemakers actually slow the development of atrial fibrillation.

The MINERVA study, presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013, involved 1,166 patients across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

It found the algorithms reduced the risk of patients developing atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder, by 61%, Medtronic announced in a Monday news release. Slowing down the development of permanent atrial fibrillation could allow patients to live longer lives.

Granted, the pacemakers only slowed down development of the disease, but the smarter features could give Fridley, MN-based Medtronic an edge in the already mature pacemaker market.

The Medtronic Advisa MRI SureScan is among the Medtronic products using the algorithms that appear to slow the development of permanent atrial fibrillation.

The algorithms studied included managed ventricular pacing, or MVP, which promotes physiologic heart rhythms and reduces the risks associated with unnecessary pacing in the right ventricle, and  reactive atrial intervention pacing, or reactive ATP, which restores rhythm in the event of a type of arrhythmia called an atrial tachycardia.

Both algorithms are available on the Medtronic Advisa MRI SureScan and Revo MRI SureScan pacing systems.

"By addressing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice, our study is the first to demonstrate that pacemakers with enhanced pacing features can significantly reduce the progression of this dangerous condition," says Luigi Padeletti, professor of cardiology at the University of Florence in Italy, and principal investigator of the MINERVA study. (MINERVA stands for MINimizE Right Ventricular pacing to prevent Atrial fibrillation and heart failure.)

An "update of society guidelines should be considered" based on the "compelling evidence," says Giuseppe Boriani, M.D., of Institute of Cardiology at the University of Bologna in Italy, and lead author and presenter of the MINERVA study at the Heart Association meeting.

Pacemakers that are better able to manage heart rhythm are not the only technological advances of recent years.

Little Canada, MN-based St. Jude recently announced its October acquisition of Milpitas, CA-based Nanostim shortly after Nanostim received CE Mark approval for a leadless pacemaker that is less than 10% the size of a conventional pacemaker. The FDA has also cleared the way for evaluation of Nanostim's technology in the U.S.

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